Much has been said of late about American Cyclocross peaking, or declining, or being killed. I could not disagree more. Never mind that American pro's are doing better than ever. Never mind that the best pro/elite racing for women is in the United States. Never mind that our best u23 riders are competing at world cups for podiums. Never mind that there are more people racing cyclocross across the country than ever before. The future of US cyclocross is stronger than ever because of the talent of our juniors. Yes, our juniors are the sign of the strength of American cyclocross.
Consider this before nationals: as I look at the race predictor rankings for the various categories, the most competitive event of the week is the Mens Juniors 17-18 race. Each of the predicted top ten have a legitimate shot of winning. 8 of the top 10 have been racing in Europe during Christmas week at Geoff Proctor's 'Cross Camp. 5 of them achieved top 20 results while racing in Belgium.
Remember these names; Logan Owen, Curtis White, Andrew Dillmen, Sam O'Keefe, Nate Morse, Chase Dickens, Tobin Ortenblad, Cyprus Gorey. They are the future of American Cyclocross.
Will they all become Pros? Who knows. Some of them may go the way of Jesse Anthony or Danny Summerhill or Gavin Mannion and decide that road racing is more attractive. Then again, those guys may be like Tim Johnson and eventually come back to cyclocross. Some may even leave the sport entirely. But even if half of them go the way of Jonathan Page and Jeremy Powers and Ryan Trebon, then the future of American cyclocross is bright. All of these kids have already been across the pond. They've seen how the game is played at its highest level. They've had a glimpse of how the top Pro's race on the toughest courses.
Oh, and besides those boys, there are a dozen 15-16 year olds coming behind them. I haven't even mentioned the junior women yet, or Katie Antonneau. And who knows how big Bruce Fina, Joan Hanscom, Adam Myerson, & Paul Boudreau can make US Pro Cyclocross races. But I am excited to see it.
American Cyclocross: the Sport of the Future.